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New Setup, New Algae

1187 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Opalescent_Depths
My wife and I have maintained a planted freshwater tank for a couple of years now. Nothing extravagant but it survived with little to no algae attacks. After doing a bit of researching and watching youtube vlogs about tank design and maintenance we decided to upgrade our aquarium to a larger size, try out a new substrate, use more driftwood and introduce a new filter, water heater, and light, keeping the original live plants. The result is a tank that has been running for roughly 3/4 months, started out very well but in the last month or so has seen a rise in BBA. We're hoping to correct this issue and in general, get our tank performing as well as it can be.

We've invested a fair amount already in the redesign so our budget for solutions isn't huge but we want to do what's best for our fish and their environment.

Here's the details of our setup:
- Tank size: 20 Gallon Tall
- Heater: Fluval 300w heater, set to 79F
- Light: 30" Beamworks DA 6500K, no dimmer, had it running for four hours a day. Currently, no light to starve algae for the last few days, to no avail.
- Filter: Aquaclear 50, Original media, has been lightly rinsed during cleanings but not replaced.
- Fish: 10 Fish: Two Catfish Coreys, one Black Kuhlii Loach, one Bristlenose Pleco, four Black Long Skirt Tetras, one Betta, One Clown Placo
- Plants: Nana Petite (Close to the surface mounted on driftwood, seeing the biggest hit of BBA), Ozelot (planted on the bottom also seeing BBA), Amazon Sword (has a bit of green slime-like algae).
- No CO2
- Test Strip Reading: Nitrate 40, Nitrite .5, Hardness 200, Chlorine .5, Alkalinity 80, PH 7.2 (We know hardness is high and have tried water softeners, but no improvement)
- Dosing: Algae fix using bottle recommended dosing.
- Substrate: Activ-flora planted aquarium substrate, has been in the setup for 3/4 months.
- Cleaning regimen: Once a week, rinse sponge filter & top-up water. Every 3/4 weeks a 25% water change is made while cleaning.
- Circulation: No heavy current in the tank due to the Betta, but water is kept moving fairly well from the filter.
- Water source: City water, dose with Seachem Prime as recommended to reduce chlorine.
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BBA and for that matter most algae is the result of too much organics being left in the system The more light you have the worse it gets. Are you dosing ferts? If you have nitrates of 40 naturally that is too high and a good indicator of the tank being too "dirty" Nitrates from dosing is a completely different story. The best way to cut it off is to decrease the organic load and increase uptake. So more water changes, more plants and at the same time less feeding (if possible). Now there's a chance you can do all the above leave the lights alone and you'll be fine. Everything is a sorta balancing act into you find the a sweet range where things work. If you able to reduce lighting without it negatively affecting plants then that will only help.

Sounds like you built up enough organics by not removing enough water until a threshold was reached and BBA developed. BBA spores are everywhere, its when conditions turn in there favor that they become algae. Side note, plecos are very dirty fish. They create a ton of waste. Doing small monthly water changes is not going to cut it, unless you have a ton of fast growing plants and without co2 I doubt it.
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